#5 Adaptive Processes with Jolanda de Ridder

Jolanda de Ridder


Our guest on this episode of the MeetMyPotential podcast is Jolanda de Ridder, a specialist and practitioner in the area of guiding people through organizational change.

Adaptive processes relate to changes in peoples behaviour that arises due to a technical change in the organization. For every technical change timeline there needs to be a timeline for adaptive processess that address behavioural change.

How are adaptive processes different than technical processes?

While technical processes follow established know-hows, procedures and timeframes under the constraints of the organization’s budget to reach specific goals. Technical processes solve technical problems. Adaptive processes are about the behavior of the people on the technical process. Adaptive processes lack structure and require the leader to be very engaged. Adaptive processes are crucial to the healthy functioning of the accompanying technical process, but they are often overlooked or postponed because of perceived time and budget constraints.

However, when organizations underestimate the guidance of behavioral change during a technical change process, they face what is called an Adaptive Challenge.

Adaptive Challenge is the gap between the behavior of the people of the old way of working to what is expected in the new situation of change.

Experience has shown that addressing these adaptive behavioral shifts during the time of the technical process shift is more effective and less costly than addressing these issues after the full implementation of the technical process, so it is counterproductive to wait too long.

An adaptive process follows a path of experimental learning. With every step of the technical process, the behavior of people is guided by the adaptive leader.

What does it look like to be an adaptive leader?

The implementation and practice of adaptive leadership is the only way that adaptive processes will be successful. An adaptive leader must be open and willing to experiment, understand the values of the organization and be able to mentor and coach their employees and colleagues, and know how to motivate those around them to change behaviors.

The keys to successfully maneuvering adaptive processes are:

  1. Be open, able to manage and mentor people
  2. Be an adaptive leader to guide your people
  3. Allocate time and budget

Get proactive to envision the adaptive changes and challenges in the project from Day 1. Otherwise it is going to catch up with a huge budget later on.

What are benefits of adaptive leadership?

By employing adaptive leadership through adaptive processes, you avoid the unnecessary additional expenditures of having to start the process after the conclusion of the technical process. Also, the leader is able to establish personal and organizational vision and mission, which allows them to motivate the workers to succeed and alter their behavior as needed. A motivated and successful workforce will lead to a thriving and successful organization, which increases shareholder value, exceptional customer service, and high workforce morale, leading to positive social and environmental impacts.

What is Jolanda’s tip for us?

The successful and effective adaptive leader takes a step back to assess questions such as:

  • What was your roles?
  • What were other roles?
  • How did you interact with each other?
  • What was your goal? Did you reach it? Why or why not?
  • Are there things you want to change now for next time?
  • What is your gap between your current situation and the necessary change?
  • How do my changes fit in with the organization’s?

Jolanda highly recommends the book “The Practice of Adaptive Leadership” by Ronald Heifetz for those interested in further information.

Make effective change with Rethink Leadership Methodology

Samskara Dec 2021 Issue #08

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